Cultural perspectives of life on country

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Kimberley-based painter and poet Edwin Lee Mulligan will bring his dreams to life in his work Ngarlimbah.
Camera IconKimberley-based painter and poet Edwin Lee Mulligan will bring his dreams to life in his work Ngarlimbah. Credit: Marrugeku

Australian history and indigenous culture is set to take the stage at the world premiere of a local dance company’s latest project.

Internationally acclaimed contemporary dance-theatre company Marrugeku will be presenting Burrbgaja Yalirra —Three Short Works at Broome Civic Centre on May 30, May 31 and June 2 before touring to Perth from June 7 to June 16.

Burrbgaja Yalirra (Dancing Forwards) is an evocative triple bill of new solo works exploring the challenges of reciprocity in Australia today.

The works, curated by Marrugeku’s co-directors Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain, present inter-cultural practice through indigenous and non-indigenous contemporary cultures across dance, music and storytelling.

The first dance work, Ngarlimbah (You are as much a part of me as I am of you) is a spoken word, dance and animated video work conceived by Walmajarri/Nykina painter and poet Edwin Lee Mulligan, and created in collaboration with award-winning new media artist Sohan Ariel Hayes.

The second work on the bill, Dancing with Strangers, was a collaboration between dancer and musician Eric Avery and Belgian choreographer Koen Augustijnen.

Avery belongs to the Yuin, Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan and Gumbangirri peoples of New South Wales and is a custodian of songs and dances from his father’s line.

In Dancing with Strangers, Avery explores the first colonial contact period, including early and missed opportunities for exchange in language, dance and sharing knowledge.

The final dance work on the Burrbgaja Yalirra bill will be Miranda, created by artist Miranda Wheen and Marrugeku’s associate choreographer Serge Aime Coulibaly.

Taking a starting point of her namesake, Miranda from Picnic at Hanging Rock, Miranda will explore the awkward, destabilising and often painful process for Australians of settler descent as they grapple with their own identity and belonging when experiencing encounters with First Nations Australian histories and cultural practices.

Marrugeku co-artistic director Dalisa Pigram said Buubgaja Yalirra would be a great learning experience for audiences.

“Exploring the challenges of what it means to learn from one another and our experience and understanding of ‘country’, Burrbgaja Yalirra sees some of our finest collaborating artists give voice and embodiment to the complexities and possibilities of seeing and feeling from another perspective,” she said.

“Marrugeku looks forward to sharing these three solo performances with our audiences.”

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